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Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 14:42 GMT 15:42 UK
Harry Potter heads for English cathedral
Harry Potter series
Harry Potter: A publishing sensation
A 900-year-old English cathedral has been chosen by film-makers Warner Brothers as one of the settings for the first Harry Potter film.

Gloucester Cathedral will feature in the filmed version of J K Rowling's first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Warner Brothers chose the historic building as the setting for the adventures of the schoolboy wizard because of its beauty, a spokesperson for the film-makers said.

Gloucester cathedral
Atmospheric: Gloucester cathedral
The film will chronicle orphan Harry's first year at the Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and his fearsome battles with arch-enemy Voldemort.

Author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, J K Rowling, came under fire from religious groups in the US last year who said her four books went against the teachings of the Bible.

But the Dean of Gloucester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Nicholas Bury, disagreed.

He said: "I think Harry Potter is tremendous and the critics are quite clearly wrong."

"It is amusing, exciting and wholesome, and J K Rowling knows how to write for children, who love reading her books.

"Fantasy stories are fantasy stories and children know the difference between fantasy and reality.

"And anyway in the end the stories are an allegory in which goodness, honesty and integrity overcome lies and deceit."

'Stunning backdrop'

He said he thought the chosen location was also a fitting setting.

"Gloucester is one of the most beautiful and elegant cathedrals and its friendliness has often been remarked upon," he said.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter is a schoolboy wizard
"It is a good place for a story about a young boy making friends in his first year at an unusual school.

"The cathedral is a particularly atmospheric place and the cloisters must be among the most exciting and beautiful architectural gems in Europe. It will make a stunning backdrop for parts of the story."

Rev Bury would not reveal when filming was due to start or in which parts of the film the cathedral would feature.

He said: "In keeping with the whole idea of Harry Potter those details are remaining a mystery, which I think is rather fun."

J K Rowling is believed to have made 14.5m from her first three books. Her latest offering, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, released in July, shot into the record books by selling more than a third of a million copies on its first day.

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